Dec 14, 2018 | Updated: 07:21 PM EDT

The Android One: Working Towards A Delightful Smartphone Experience

Jul 10, 2015 10:54 PM EDT

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The Android One, a project initiated by Google’s Senior VP Sundar Pichai, was launched in September 2014 in New Delhi. The project is a bid to standardize the implementation, as well as the hardware that runs the Android. It was developed to position the Android for first-time smartphone buyers, and the goal was to create a seamless, even delightful experience of the OS.

In Sundar Pichai’s own words: “With Android One, we set the bar to be a great software experience and a great device. We really want to bring in a whole new set of people who have never tried a smartphone before.”

One thing that kept a good percentage of smartphone users stuck on iOS was the fact that using an Apple device was fuss-free: Unbox, power up the device, and get going. With Android, and the many different iterations and implementations of the mobile OS across different devices, the experience has been a lot less straightforward.

The Android, as fanatics, geeks, and nerds know, is an Open Source system: Anyone, whether it’s a company, developer, or hobbyist, can download the source code and tweak it as much as they like. This means, then, that a company can take the Android source code, and incorporate their own, proprietary apps, into the stock installation of their devices. For non-nerds, this means bloatware. The average consumer may experience this as a good number of apps they didn’t ask for, which may or may not be helpful for or useful to them. The keen, savvy user may eventually experience this as “those apps that slow down my device.”

The Android One was initially rolled out in developing South Asian countries, launching first in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The first companies they partnered with for the devices were Karbonn, Micromax, and Spice, with the goal of creating sub-$100 smartphones. Basically, the Android One was not just a bid to create the best Android experience possible: It was also a shot at creating devices that give great value for the least possible price. A price that is perfect for the developing world.

But it’s not just the developing world that got excited with the Android One. North America was also awaiting its arrival. Gizmodo’s Pranav Dixit seems pessimistic about the possibility of Android One devices reaching North American shores, however. She believes that at such low specs, these Android One models may never be taken up by North American telcos as, “carriers heavily subsidize high-end phones.”

She could be correct with her speculations, though other voices in the tech space do not necessarily echo her views. After all, there is always eBay. When you need a good smartphone for less than $100 bucks, you could just grab one from a good seller with a perfect feedback score. Good specs, standardized hardware, fully-integrated Android implementation: sounds like the perfect smartphone. You should totally grab one. And we won’t tell that you got it off of eBay.

Moving forward, big names in technology are also in on the Android One program. ASUS, HTC, Lenovo, Acer, Alcatel, chipmaker Qualcomm, Panasonic, Intex, Lava, and Xolo, are all on board the Android One. This certainly bodes good things for the Android sphere. Sundar Pichai heads the teams and operations behind Android, Chrome, and Google Apps.

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